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SMA Teaching Moment: Seeking a Balanced Perspective of Marketing

EasyChair Preprint no. 7336

3 pagesDate: January 14, 2022


We bring to light a concern in marketing education in that many of our undergraduate marketing students may not be receiving “a balanced perspective of marketing” when reading some of the leading textbooks in the field. A balanced perspective of marketing is defined as a consideration of both the positive/beneficial and negative/harmful outcomes of marketing decisions for stakeholders including: consumers, business, and/or society. 

We did a content analysis of the table of contents of thirty marketing textbooks. The sampling frame was based on the book sales rankings on Amazon during spring 2020, and the books analyzed tended to be the latest edition. The data collected included: name of the book, number of chapters dedicated to the bright side of marketing, number of pages covering the bright side, number of chapters dedicated to the dark side of marketing, and the number of pages dedicated to the bright side.

Our content analysis of these textbooks confirmed that marketing is primarily presented as a force for good, which we call an unbalanced frame of reference. This exploratory analysis proved that our textbooks are predominantly one-sided when representing marketing decision making. There was much more positive content, or material that shows marketing strategy having a positive effect on marketing problems and marketing playing a positive role in society. There was little coverage of negative effects, or potential problems that marketing creates, or unintended negative consequences. Our analysis found that 95% of the content was of a positive nature. Only about 5% of content painted marketing in a negative light. In conclusion, marketing textbooks are overwhelmingly not focusing enough on balanced perspectives. This serves as a call for a more balanced presentation of the field.

Keyphrases: Balanced Perspective, Dark Side of Marketing, textbooks

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Bailey Bottini and Mike Giebelhausen and Susan Dobscha and Laurel Steinfield and Minita Sanghvi and Angeline Close Scheinbaum},
  title = {SMA Teaching Moment: Seeking a Balanced Perspective of Marketing},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 7336},

  year = {EasyChair, 2022}}
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